John Deere Maintenance Monday: Falling object protective structure
Radio interview link: Robert (Bobby) Grisso, Extension Engineer, Virginia Tech University
In this edition of Maintenance Monday, we're answering a question from Pete in Texas. He needs to do some heavy work in his woodlot, and he's not sure if the sun canopy on the tractor will hold up to falling branches. Is there another option?
Bobby Grisso is an extension engineer at Virginia Tech University. He says Falling Object Protective Structures, or FOPS, are similar to roll over protection structures in that they provide safety in the cab. The FOPS canopy protects the operator from falling debris. "Typically the one that we might see a little bit more frequently on front end loaders and small agricultural-type equipment might be what they refer to as a level-1 impact protection," says Grisso. "That's primarily designed for bricks and small cinder blocks, hand tools, those kinds of things. The higher level one, which they refer to as a level-2 impact structure, is looking at a bigger item, primarily for trees and rocks."
Grisso says level-one standards dictate that a canopy design needs to hold up to the equivalent of a 90-pound ball hitting the top of the structure from ten-feet above. A roof that simply offers sun protection may not be strong enough to protect you from falling objects. A true FOPS is made a lot tougher.
"Most of the ones that you will see for falling objects will have multiple ribs within the structure itself, with reinforced steel on it for impact protection," Grisso says. "Most of the ones that we have for agriculture would be typically a four-poled roll over protection,but then the structure goes on top of it, and has several pieces of reinforcement besides just a piece of sheet metal going over the top of it."
FOPS are not required safety equipment, but if you want one installed, talk to your dealer.
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